And the winner of the annual "Most Convoluted Conspiracy Theory to Emerge from the Egyptian Fever Swamp" prize is the writer Amr Ammar, who alleged earlier this month on Tahrir TV that talk-show host Jon Stewart, working in tandem with former U.S. National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski, is asserting dominion over Egypt on behalf of the Jews. Or something like that -- the nature of Egyptian conspiracy theories (a subject that has interested me for a long time) is such that they are often not explicable, even on their own terms.
This particularly ripe theory has its roots in a visit earlier this year to Cairo by Stewart, who made an appearance on the satirist Bassem Youssef's show. (Stewart has been famously supportive of Youssef, who is loathed in Cairo by the type of people whose loathing a satirist would seek.) On Youssef's show, Stewart jokedthat, while on a temporary hiatus from his own show, he had become somewhat aimless. "As you know, my people like to wander the desert," he said. "It's been two weeks. I've got 50 weeks and 38 years left." This was an historic moment -- an inside Jewish joke (of the non-anti-Semitic variety) made before a live Egyptian studio audience, which laughed, at least a little.